Blog: Ohio inmate hangs himself ahead of execution

10:04 AM, Aug 5, 2013   |    comments
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There's one less killer on Ohio's death row now after Billy Slagle hung himself Sunday morning, days before his scheduled execution on Wednesday.

Slagle, now 44, was convicted back in 1987 at the age of 18 for killing his neighbor Mari Anne Pope, then 40, in Cleveland, right in front of Lauretta Keeton's two children that Pope was babysitting.

Ironically, he lived to be 44, longer than the age of the woman he killed. He even outlived one of the two children that watched him stab the neighbor lady everyone called "Marnie" 17 times.

Slagle chose to hang himself rather than get a lethal injection, an injection that costs $351, according to Ohio officials. Officials are still investigating how he got whatever he used to hang himself at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

Slagle didn't show Pope any mercy and also chose to die on his own terms. I wonder why he waited so long? We will never know.

Personally, in my opinion, death row inmates are allowed to live way too long and executions should be swifter. No such mercy was shown to their victims.

And having just watched Cleveland media-dubbed "monster" Ariel Castro take a plea agreement Thursday that gave him life without parole plus 1,000 years, I am more inclined than ever to wish Castro the worst.  

Slagle had been on Ohio's death row for 26 years. Taxpayers have been footing the bill for him all those years.

According to current 2013 statistics from the Ohio Department of Corrections, it costs between $46 and $146 a day to house an Ohio prisoner, depending on which prison they are in.

Even taking the lowest number, multiply 365 days times 26 years and that's how much it has cost to keep Slagle alive until he was to be executed.

Last month, both prosecutors and defense attorneys asked the Ohio Parole Board to spare Slagle, citing his youth at the time of his killing and his history of drug and alcohol abuse.

Both were denied. But it is noteworthy that life without parole was not an option for the jury back then until Ohio law changed in 1996.

It is also noteworthy that Keeton asked that the board to reject the clemency and put Slagle to death as scheduled.

Executions do not happen quickly after sentencing and inmates spend decades waiting for their final day. Often times appeals stretch on for years and, in rare cases, some inmates are found to be not guilty when either new evidence or new tests of old evidence point to another killer.

So, who's next? The next Ohio inmate scheduled for execution is Harry Mitts Jr, also from Cuyahoga County. His clemency hearing is set for Aug. 19 and his execution date is scheduled for Sept. 25.

Mitts was found guilty of the Aug. 14, 1994 killing of his Garfield Heights neighbor John Bryant and, in an ensuing shootout with police, Garfield Heights police Sgt. Dennis Glivar. He also wounded Garfield Heights Lt. Thomas Kaiser and Maple Heights Patrolman John Mackey during the shootout.

And the list goes on and on...

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